It took new Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace a little more than week to find his guy, as multiple media outlets are reporting the hiring of John Fox as the 15th head coach in franchise history.
Fox spent the past four years as head coach of the Denver Broncos, yet the two sides parted ways after the Broncos’ loss in the AFC Divisional playoffs. Previous to his time in Denver, Fox served as head coach of the Carolina Panthers from 2002-2010.
With 13 years as a head coach under his belt, Fox was one of the most experienced candidates on the market. It’s a move that makes a lot of sense for the Bears, who just hired the youngest general manager in the league.
Fox has a 119-89 career record in the regular season and has been to two Super Bowls, both losses.
The Bears have scheduled a press conference on Monday at 11 a.m. to announce the hiring of Fox.
From the official press release:
The Chicago Bears have reached an agreement with John Fox to become the team’s 15th head coach in franchise history.
Fox joins the franchise with 13 years of NFL head coaching experience at Denver (2011-14) and Carolina (2002-10). As an NFL head coach, Fox has a 119-89 (.572) regular season record, six division titles, six double-digit win seasons and seven playoff appearances. In the postseason, Fox has amassed an 8-7 (.533) record as a head coach with three conference championship game appearances leading to two trips to the Super Bowl (XXXVIII with Carolina in 2003 and XLVIII with Denver in 2013). He is one of six coaches in NFL history to lead two different teams to Super Bowl appearances along with Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Dan Reeves, Dick Vermeil and Mike Holmgren. Fox ranks fifth among active NFL head coaches with 127 overall wins and his six seasons with at least 11 wins are third most among active head coaches.
Over the past four seasons, Fox guided the Broncos to four division titles, joining Chuck Knox (L.A. Rams) as the only coaches in NFL history to lead their respective team to four division titles in their first four years with the franchise. Denver’s regular season record of 46-18 (.719) is third-best in the NFL since 2011 and they are one of only three teams to win four division titles during that span along with Green Bay and New England. Denver had at least 12 wins in each of the last three seasons (13-3 in 2012 and 2013 and 12-4 in 2014).
The Broncos ranked in the top five in total offense in each of the last three seasons: (fourth in 2012, first in 2013 and fourth in 2014) and in the top five in total defense in two of the last three years: (second in 2012 and third in 2014). Denver also ranked in the top two in scoring offense in each of the last three seasons: (second in 2012, first in 2013 and second in 2014) and fourth in scoring defense in 2012. This has led the Broncos to rank in the top five in both scoring margin (second in 2012, first in 2013 and fourth in 2014) and net-yardage differential (first in 2012 and 2013 and second in 2014) in each of the last three seasons.
Fox helped the Broncos adapt to play to their offensive strengths over his four seasons in Denver, ranking first in the NFL in rushing offense in 2011 (164.5 yards per game), before ranking in the top five in each of the next three seasons in passing offense: fifth in 2012 (283.4 ypg), first in 2013 (340.3 ypg) and fourth in 2014 (291.3 ypg). In 2013, the Broncos set an NFL single-season record with 606 points and their 7,317 net yards that season are second most in league history.
Prior to his time with the Broncos, Fox spent nine years as head coach of the Carolina Panthers. He led the franchise to a 73-71 (.507) regular-season record, including three playoff appearances and two NFC South titles. The Panthers went 5-3 in the postseason under Fox, including winning four road playoff games, while appearing in two NFC Championship Games and earning the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance.
During Fox’s time as Carolina’s head coach, the Panthers defense was third in the NFL with 282 takeaways, fifth in total defense (312.0 ypg) and ninth in scoring defense (20.1 ppg). The Panthers ranked in the NFL’s top 10 in scoring defense in five of his nine seasons as head coach (fifth in 2002 and 2005, 10th in 2003, tied for eighth in 2006 and ninth in 2009) and in the top eight in total defense on five occasions (second in 2002, eighth in 2003 and 2009, third in 2005 and seventh in 2006).
Under Fox’s tutelage as a head coach, coordinator and position coach, 37 players have earned a total of 72 Pro Bowl selections at 14 different positions during his coaching career.
Fox came to Carolina from the New York Giants where he spent five seasons (1997-2001) as the franchise’s defensive coordinator. During those five seasons, the Giants ranked third in the NFL in sacks (230), fourth in rushing defense (96.5 ypg), seventh in scoring defense (18.7 ppg) and eighth in opponent passer rating (73.4).
The Giants made the playoffs twice in Fox’s five seasons as defensive coordinator, including a trip to Super Bowl XXXV following the 2000 season. In the 2000 NFC Championship Game, Fox helped lead the Giants to a 41-0 shutout of the Minnesota Vikings, who were the fifth-ranked scoring offense in the league during the regular season.
Fox spent the 1996 season as a consultant for the St. Louis Rams after two years as the Raiders defensive coordinator (1994-95). The Raiders were eighth in the NFL in total defense (314.0 ypg) and tied for 12th in scoring defense (20.6 ppg) in Fox’s two seasons as defensive coordinator.
Before becoming an NFL defensive coordinator, Fox was a secondary coach for the San Diego Chargers (1992-93) and Pittsburgh Steelers (1989-91). In his two seasons with the Chargers, San Diego’s defense was second in the NFL in interceptions (47) and seventh in opponent passer rating (70.4). In Pittsburgh, working under Pro Football Hall of Fame Head Coach Chuck Noll, Fox helped the Steelers defense rank tied for fourth in the NFL with 64 interceptions and fifth in the league in opponent passer rating (69.2).
Prior to joining the NFL coaching ranks, Fox spent 10 years as a collegiate coach and one season in the USFL. He got his coaching start at his alma mater, San Diego State, in 1978 as a graduate assistant. He also worked as a defensive backs/secondary coach at U.S. International (1979), Boise State (1980), Long Beach State (1981), Utah (1982), Kansas (1983) and Iowa State (1984) before working on the coaching staff of the USFL’s Los Angeles Express in 1985. Fox rejoined the collegiate coaching ranks in 1986 as a defensive coordinator/secondary coach at the University of Pittsburgh, a title he held for three seasons. While with the Panthers, Fox oversaw a pass defense that ranked in the top-10 nationally all three years (1986-88).
A native of Virginia Beach, Va., Fox spent his teen years in the San Diego area and attended Castle Park High School in Chula Vista, Calif. He played defensive back at Southwestern Junior College in Chula Vista (1974-75) before transferring to San Diego State to finish his collegiate career. Fox graduated from San Diego State with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a secondary education teaching credential.
The son of Ron Fox, who was a U.S. Navy SEAL, John and his wife, Robin, have three sons: Matthew, Mark and Cody, and a daughter, Halle.
Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fourth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.